LEG REG REVIEW is a periodic newsletter produced by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES, a professional lobbying and consultant firm located near the State Capitol. It contains news on the legislative and regulatory scene in Pennsylvania that may be of interest to the Insurance and Business Communities. It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) or Manufacturers Association of South Central PA (MASCPA). Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/728-1164 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email email@example.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from this list.
LEADERSHIP CHOICES (ALMOST) COMPLETE
The other three caucuses finalized their leadership selections for the 2011-2012 legislative session of the PA General Assembly. In the most recent issue of Leg Reg Review, the House Republican team was announced. Following are the other three caucuses with some commentary.
Senate Republicans:[table “3” not found /]
The major change is the movement upward of Sen. Browne to be new Majority Whip. He replaces Sen. Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) who resigned that leadership post because of legal issues. Two positions in Senate Republican leadership will be selected later. These are Senate Republican Caucus Administrator which was filled by Sen. Browne and Majority Policy Chair now held by Sen. Ted Erickson (R-Chester/Delaware)
Senate Democrats:[table “4” not found /]
Despite the shift of power westward, Philadelphia Democrats still wield considerable power within the caucus as evidenced by Appropriations staying east. Unless he decides to switch committees, unsuccessful Minority Leader challenger Mike Stack (D-Phila.) remains Minority Chair of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee…decisions on committee chairs take place next year.
[table “5” not found /]
As with House Republicans, the power shifted westward since former Majority Leader Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne) was retired, former Caucus Chair was Mark Cohen (D-Phila.), and in the biggest swing, the Appropriations Committee Chairman was Dwight Evans (D-Phila.) In January, Democrats and Republicans will choose committee chairs. The plum to watch is the House Finance Committee since former Finance Chair Dave Levdansky (D-Allegheny) was defeated. This might be something Rep. Evans seeks since the Finance Committee originates tax legislation as a companion in the appropriations/budgeting process.
IRRC CHANGES DECEMBER MEETINGS
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) has changed its December schedule to cancel two meetings for December 2 and 4 and to compress a significant agenda into the one set for December 16, several items of which involve the insurance industry.
· 2862 Insurance Department #11-245: Property and Casualty Actuarial Opinion (Deemed Approved)
· 2866 Insurance Department #11-244: Actuarial Opinion and Memorandum (Deemed Approved)
· 2867 Insurance Department #11-246: Recognition of the 2001 CSO Mortality Table and the 2001 CSO Preferred Class Structure Mortality Table for Use in Determining Minimum Reserve Liabilities (Deemed Approved)
· 2868 Insurance Department #11-247: Valuation of Life Insurance Policies (Deemed Approved)
· 2882 Department of Revenue #11-247: Amendments to Pennsylvania Gaming Cash Flow Management (Final-Omit)
· 2846 Department of Labor and Industry #12-74: Unemployment Compensation; Employee Provisions
· 2847 Department of Labor and Industry #12-78: Unemployment Compensation; Administration
·NOTE: 2812 Insurance Department #11-240: Education and Training for Applicants and Insurance Producers
FEDERAL DEFICIT PANEL MAY TARGET INSURANCE (Courtesy of NAIFA)
According to some, the recently released National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s draft proposal threatens preferential tax treatment for retirement programs and insurance products. The draft details domestic spending cuts and tax and entitlement reforms, including the “zero plan,” which would eliminate $1.1 trillion of so-called tax expenditures. This includes tax incentives for company retirement savings and healthcare programs and tax-deferred buildup of cash value within life insurance policies. NAIFA Senior Vice President for Government Relations Michael Kerley says, “The likelihood is that they would have a fairly significant negative impact on life insurance, annuities and employer-sponsored health benefits.” If you want to read their draft go to http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/.
NAHU generally appears to take the position that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility report may be dead on arrival as far as acceptance by the Congress although a formal statement was unavailable at time of this report.